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"A sign of the customer's familiarization with the plant"
EU: Garden orchids demanded earlier in the season
Pascal Lambe at the IPM in Essen, Germany. In Belgium, Phytesia is breeding and propagating garden orchids for 12 years now and started to grow finished garden orchids 6 years ago.
The garden orchid has been a relatively unknown plant for years, but now seems to gain more interest of the end consumer. According to Lambe, this is reflected in the sales and time of sales of the finished garden orchids. "This year, we sold about 10 percent more garden orchids compared to the year before. Besides that, more has been sold at the beginning of the season. The season runs from February till June and we usually sell the majority of the plants more towards the end of the season, but this year that was not the case. We sold the majority of the plants in April", says Lambe. He is very satisfied with these developments and in particular the latter one. "Higher sales are always good, but earlier sales are a sign of the customer's familiarization with the plant. In the past they started to buy the plant when it is in flower. Now, they are buying it as soon as it is developing its buds. This is a beneficial development for the entire chain and in the end, the end consumer is enjoying the plant for a longer period." The finished plants are mainly sold through Royal FloraHolland to Germany, the UK, France and Belgium.
Bletilla striata ‘purple’.
High expectations for young plant sales
Due to the increasing demand and popularity of the garden orchid, Lambe expects the sales of young plants to increase as well. "We do not have all the orders in yet, as we start shipping the young plants in the form of bulb at the end of September. However, I have high expectations that the demand will be higher compared to last year." The season of orchid bulbs runs through November as they need to be shipped in the winter dormant phase of the plant. The main export countries are the Netherlands, Germany, UK, France, USA and Canada.
Even though the demand for garden orchids is rising, Phytesia is not planning to expand the greenhouse soon. "We are increasing the production of young and finished plants by 10 to 20 percent, but due to some cultivation improvements we are not planning to expand soon. We still have some room to grow in our 4,000m2 greenhouse." Over the last years, they took a closer look at the soil they use and the habits of their orchids, which led to a more efficient use of their cultivation area. "In the past, for example, it took three years to produce a flowering Cypripedium, now after investing years in breeding, we created a Cypripedium orchid that produces flowers in just two years. It drastically shortens the growth cycle, which is a major advantage for us and other garden orchid growers."
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